Christian convert who helped pastor Saeed Abedini in Iran 'one step from death' in Tehran prison

Nasim Naghash Zargaran lies on a bed in an undisclosed location. She is on a hunger strike and 'in extreme pain,' according to Pastor Saeed Abedini.(Facebook/Free Maryam Naghash-Zargaran-Nasim)

Nasim Naghash Zargaran, a Christian woman who assisted Pastor Saeed Abedini while he was imprisoned in Iran, is just "one step from death" and in desperate need of prayers as she languished in a prison in Tehran.

Speaking to the Baptist Press (BP), Abedini said Zargaran, 36, was one of the first people who converted to Christianity and was one of his main church leaders in Iran.

"Her punishment is just because of assisting me," Abedini said.

Zargaran was arrested in January 2013 for her involvement in an Iranian church planting ministry and her connection to Abedini, CBN News reports.

On Friday last week, she began a hunger strike to protest the denial of much needed medical treatment, according to Abedini, who learned about Zargaran's dire condition from her sister Naeemeh.

Zargaran reportedly suffers from diabetes, severe pain, and an atrial septal defect heart condition.

Abedini said he learned that Iranian prison officials took Zargaran to the hospital because she appeared to be comatose, but quickly took her back to prison against the doctor's wishes.

"(Naaemeh) told me when she went to hospital she had a chance to take some photos. She was like in a coma so she thought that her sister was dead first when she saw her," Abedini told BP. "The doctors said she should stay in hospital but the police (took) her back to prison ... two days ago."

Zargaran is serving a four-year prison sentence for "threatening national security" by church planting—the same charge slapped on Abedini who was meted an eight-year jail sentence prior to his release in January this year.

Abedini also posted an update on Nasim's condition on his Facebook page. He says Naeemeh met with her sister Nasim, who "lost so much weight and much of her hair."

He says Naeemeh hardly recognised her sister Nasim. "In order to meet her sister, Nasim needed the help of two other prisoners who held her as she came. She cannot walk on her own any more," Abedini writes.

The pastor says Zargaran could not anymore "remember conversations for more than five minutes" since her "memory is lost."

"Throughout her hunger strike that has lasted thirteen days, she has refused any medical treatment. She simply wants to be free. The whites of her eyes have turned to yellow and her blood pressure is very low. She is in extreme pain, especially in her legs, which is like torture," Abedini writes.

"Nasim comes in and out of consciousness. Some of the guards and prison authorities push her to eat in order to shut down the news coming out about her situation, but she refuses to eat. Please pray for Nasim," Abedini urges his readers.